Why I Love Worcester

When I moved to Worcester many decades ago, I was struck by the friendliness of my neighbours and how welcome I was made to feel. This should come as no surprise, as last year Worcester was named the ‘Good Neighbour’ capital of Britain in a UK poll.
You can’t beat Worcester for community spirit. I started volunteering some years ago, as I wanted to join the silent band of unsung heroes who dedicate themselves to working for the common good. Whether it’s a community litter pick, getting together to grow vegetables, spending time with isolated people who might otherwise go weeks without seeing anyone, or one of the myriad other voluntary schemes, the sense of community and of coming together to make Worcester a better place to live is truly humbling.
Last year I was honoured to be elected as a city councillor, and must admit I was quite intimidated by the grand, wood panelled rooms and vast oil paintings of the Guildhall where we are tasked with making decisions about how to run the city. In reality, though, it’s a community like any other. We have different ideas of how to achieve the goal of making Worcester a better place to live, but we all want the best for our city. I was pleased to help bring-in the committee system to the city council as I believe citizens will benefit from a better quality of cross-party discussion and debate, where the emphasis is on the merit of proposals and not on a tribal voting system.
Even in these turbulent times there is always more that unites us than that divides us, and we’ve seen many examples of cross-party agreement. For example, councillors from all parties backed the proposal to install solar panels and electric car charging points on top of St Martin’s Gate car park, and all parties agreed that we should plant more trees in the city centre to improve air quality and the health of the citizens of Worcester.
We’re all sadly familiar with the all too common sight of local independent businesses going under, to be replaced by empty units, charity shops, and multinational companies which drain money from the local economy. It’s not right, and it’s hurting our communities.
There are measures that will help to solve these problems. Some of these are at council level, for example by investing in the regeneration of Cathedral Square and Angel Place. The council could do more to encourage more people to live in the city centre by promoting ‘Living Over The Shop’ rather than building at the edges of the city. There are far more important things that we can do, though, things that every one of us can do to help Worcester to be the beautiful, thriving, faithful city that I fell in love with all those years ago. We can shop locally, we can support each other, and we can take pride in Worcester, because there’s nowhere else I’d rather live.